While Atlanta has a storied past and rich history, there’s perhaps no better time to call the “ATL” home than right now. Celebrities from near and far are flocking to the capital of Georgia to live, work, eat, and play. But the question many fans are asking is, “Where are they living, working, eating, and playing?”
Meet the New Atlanta
While the actual city limits of Atlanta may only house approximately 450,000 inhabitants, the surrounding metropolitan area is home to a whopping 5.5 million people. That makes it the ninth largest metropolitan area in the country and affords Georgia’s capital city a number of valuable resources and economic opportunities.
Atlanta is taking advantage of this steady population growth and has become the unofficial celebrity capital of the south – especially in the African American community. “It seems like everything is happening here now,” says Dave Hollister, an R&B singer who frequents Atlanta. “It feels like New York used to feel with a little more nicety.”
Celebs with ATL Affiliations
Hollister’ sentiments seem to be the common belief, and it’s that fast-paced culture merged with southern hospitality that seems to attract the rich and famous. Here are just a few celebrities who were either raised in Atlanta or now call it home:
Outkast. This southern rap duo met at an Atlanta performing arts high school and have made the city a big part of their musical journey ever since.
T.I. and Tiny. This hip-hop couple isn’t shy about their love for Atlanta. These Georgia natives aren’t just from Atlanta, but they also live in the enviable neighborhood of Buckhead.
Usher. He may have spent his early years in Texas and Tennessee, but his mother moved him to Atlanta as a high school student and he’s called the area home ever since.
Jermaine Dupri. Perhaps no hip-hop artist is more synonymous with Atlanta than Jermaine Dupri. He even wrote the unofficial theme song of the city, “Welcome to Atlanta.”
Other famous Atlantans include the likes of Gladys Knight, Little Richard, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, and dozens of other professional athletes and music stars.
Where They Spend Their Time
But it’s not just those that call Atlanta home that add to the hype of the city. It’s becoming an increasingly popular weekend destination for celebrities and athletes. And when they come to town, they frequent some of the following places:
Chops. This Buckhead restaurant is a favorite spot for both locals and visitors. Not only is the steak amazing, but the atmosphere is chic and accommodating. And with no paparazzi in the streets of Buckhead, celebs like Josh Duhamel and Fergie are free to wine and dine without much bother.
Straits. It’s well known that Ludacris owns Straits, a trendy Midtown restaurant that offers Singaporean cuisine and good drinks. Not only is he frequently spotted ordering selections from his own menu with friends, but he also attracts fellow artists on a regular basis.
The Buckhead Diner. In case you aren’t noticing the trend, one of Atlanta’s most attractive features is the food – and the upscale Buckhead Diner is no exception. With a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and great food, this restaurant has been a hangout over the years for celebs like Steve Martin, Mick Jagger, and others.
Where They Live and Stay
Looking to do a little celebrity watching from your car? You’ll see some notable residences and maybe even a celeb or two walking their pets through the streets of Buckhead, Druid Hills, or Ansley Park. Go a little further north to the suburbs and areas like Dunwoody, Marietta, and Alpharetta are popular retreats.
Atlanta is definitely on the rise – though it’s always been notable – and it’s the rich and famous that are pushing it towards the top. In the words of Jermaine Dupri, “Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play.”